Sleep is underrated! People might view those who take their sleep seriously as lazy or
unproductive. In our fast-paced society that values and prioritizes productivity we might even
feel guilty for wanting to go to sleep early or sleep in.
Research has shown that sleep is the most important thing we can do for our recovery. No
amount of protein we eat compares to the recovery effects of sleep. Sleep is not only an
important factor for our physical recovery, but also for our mental, psychological, and
emotional recovery. It is no wonder why elite athletes treat their sleep as serious as their
physical activity in preparation for competitions/games.
Here are 5 tips to optimize your sleep.
1. Good sleep begins with your daily behaviors
Be active – As human beings we have been created for movement. Our body needs it!
Drink water – Hydration is integral to human survival and can help us function more
efficiently. Avoid drinking water before bed so that you do not wake up from sleep to
use the bathroom.
Avoid caffeine late in the day – Be conscious and intentional about your caffeine intake.
Do not eat close to bedtime – Your body needs to be in a restful state before bedtime. If
you eat before bedtime, then your body will be awake and actively processing the food.
2. Create a pre-bed routine
As human beings we function better with routines (have you ever noticed the rituals
that athletes have before games?). Pre-bed rituals can help our minds and bodies
separate the day from the night.
Here are some pre-bed routines that you can try:
- Walking after dinner
- Yoga or stretching
- Listening to relaxing music
- Hot bath or shower
- Wear blue light blocking glasses if you like to watch TV ~3hrs before bedtime
3. Create an environment that is conducive to optimal sleep
Get comfortable – You want a mattress, pillow, and sheets that you enjoy.
Total darkness – We are not nocturnal creatures. Darkness helps us sleep. You can wear
a sleep mask or use black out curtains to cover windows.
Cool temperature – We sleep better in cooler temperatures (think hibernation).
No noise – Turning off all noise or using ear plugs to block out noise. If eliminating all
noise is not possible, then try playing soft white-noise.
4. Maintain circadian rhythm and sleep consistency
Circadian rhythm is a 24-hour internal clock. This clock regulates when we fall asleep
and wake up. By going to sleep and waking up each day at a consistent time, we create
sleep consistency. This will help us get better light, REM, and SWS (deep) sleep. In other
words, our body’s will not be confused and will achieve more efficient sleep!
5. Supplements can help support good sleep
Melatonin is natural hormone that aids in our body’s circadian rhythm. Taking
melatonin can help aid with insomnia, jet lag, shift work, or sleep disorders.
Remember, sleep is not unproductive or lazy! Our physical, mental, emotional, and
psychological readiness for the day depends on our sleep recovery.
Click here to view our reference.